Crestfallen was dog owner Shannon Glenn. Her landlord heard Glenn's canine Wilbur was a pit bull, one of the breeds prohibited by his insurance company.
"You have two weeks to get rid of the dog or find a new place to live,” he told her.
Twin Cities renters already know how hard it is to find housing that will accept dogs.
Landlords and management companies also have weight restrictions, i.e., no dogs above 40 pounds. They entirely blacklist certain breeds deemed aggressive, like Akitas, pit bulls, and Dobermans. Glenn estimates that 70 to 80 percent of local rentals impose some kind of dog rules.
Minneapolis nonprofit MyPitBullisFamily carries the banner for this cause. It's out "to end housing and insurance discrimination for dogs and their families."
"It's not blatant discrimination that they're trying to say these dogs or horrible or anything like that," says
Glenn, the group's executive director, "but it's definitely discriminatory practices when it comes to dog policies.
"It can be a small local landlord with a lease saying only small dogs are allowed or no dogs, period. There are insurance companies that breed discriminate, absolutely, and they don't allow the 'aggressive' breeds and even have them listed on the policy. There's management companies too that believe the stigma, the stereotype they see in the media that all pit bulls, for instance, are these vicious dogs when that's not the case at all. But they still don't want them living at their property."
MyPit identifies insurers with dog-friendly options for renters. The group's outreach involves hosting events that generate awareness while promoting "every dog is its own living thing with its own personality, not just some type of breed," Glenn says.
Her website database of "non-discriminatory housing options" includes all 50 states. Minnesota's list shows 14 good options for renters with dogs. All are located in the Twin Cities. Contrast this with Arizona's 50-list catalog.
"Minneapolis is okay at best," says Glenn. "There's quite a few apartment complexes that allow these breeds, but it's not enough. Detroit is an example of where it's much better. It has a number of rentals where all breeds are accepted."
"There's so much more work to do, say, for the family that adopts a dog and they're not aware it has pit bull-like characteristics or it's a mix with some kind of breed," she says. "The apartment complex then says, 'Oh no, that kind of dog isn't allowed here.' It's those instances when more dogs end up in shelters, out in the street, or the family struggles for months to find housing."